Various coaching methods encourage unity


Emily Trelstad

Girls varsity volleyball coach Erin Deenen talks with her team after practice. Her approach to coaching teaches her players skills that will translate into the real world.

Cassidy Washburn, Regulars Managing Editor

Spit flies out of the coaches’ mouths, clipboards are thrown on the ground, yells echo around the stadium. While this is the image of coaches people tend to think of, in reality, coaches just want the best for their team and try to achieve this using a variety of procedures.

Coaches from different fall sports use a variety of coaching methods, though, for the most part, they all use a coaching style that prepares students for games as well as real-life situations.

Kyle Beaulieu-Jones, an EXCEL social studies teacher who has been coaching soccer for nine years at the high school, believes that challenging his team is an essential part of coaching.

“My philosophy is really to challenge the student-athletes,” Beaulieu-Jones said. “That way, they are then able to learn how to think and manage different situations on the field when they are in the middle of a game, where I am not providing every single step that they need to do.”

Girls varsity volleyball coach Erin Deneen takes a similar approach while also trying to teach players skills on the court that will translate into real life.

“[I love] being able to teach technical skills, as well as the intangibles like being really aggressive and strong and confident,” Deneen said. “[I love] teaching that stuff that gets translated into larger life and the future, which is really great to see.”

Emily Hunt, who teaches Wellness Education at the high school and started coaching girls varsity field hockey this year, also believes that there are many lessons taught through high school athletics that can be translated into daily life.

“I am coaching educational athletics, so school comes first for everyone, but I also think that there are a lot of lessons to be learned in competitive athletics,” Hunt said. “I teach that winning is work, so we work very hard at practice and we do everything at game speed to get ourselves ready for competition.”

Beaulieu-Jones said that student-athletes respond differently to distinct coaching techniques and that coaches must adjust accordingly.  

“I think some of the players want and need the tougher coaching styles,” Beaulieu-Jones said. “It also makes a difference how long you have known a player for and the relationship you have with that player.”

Hunt also said that while many players respond better to a more aggressive coaching style, it is important to remember to listen to and help students first.

“I think that especially when we are talking about a varsity program, there are certain times when you need to have that harshness and that intensity to reach your best players and push your best athletes, but also have that compassion and that understanding that it is high school educational athletics,” Hunt said.

For Deneen, it is essential that players feel comfortable making mistakes and persevering.

“I don’t want them to be afraid of making mistakes,” Deneen said. “I want them to hit the ball into the net ten times, because the 11th time it’s going to kill, rather than playing soft or being afraid to make a mistake – which ultimately is not going to be successful down the line.”

Above all, it is important that players and coaches connect in a positive way and that both are able to comprehend the other.

“If they’re perceiving something in a way that is negative, then you have to adjust your coaching style,” Deneen said. “Find a way that they are going to absorb what you are trying to teach them and use it in a positive way.”